House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday, citing the urgency of protecting those ground allies from Taliban retaliation to thousands of Afghans working with Americans in the Afghanistan war, as the US military withdrawal enters its final week. does.
Representative Neil Dunn, a Florida Republican and Vietnam War veteran, illuminated the scenes of a US military withdrawal from Vietnam that left many Vietnamese, who were afraid of working with the US military — and sometimes meeting — death and detention.
“We can’t do it again. We shouldn’t do it again. We must bring back all the people who were so important to us in the war,” Neil urged fellow lawmakers to vote for the measure. “Please don’t leave America friends again.”
Members of the House sent it to the Senate and passed 407-16. The bill, by Representative Jason Crowe, a Colorado Democrat and former Army Ranger who fought in Afghanistan, allows 8,000 more visas for translators and others working with US soldiers and civilians in Afghanistan. It also eases some of the requirements for visas.
Currently, 26,500 of the special Afghan visas have been allotted.
President Joe Biden decided to end the US military role in Afghanistan by September 11, culminating a US military effort that soon followed its main goal of crushing Afghanistan-based al-Qaeda perpetrators of the 2001 attacks on the United States. but struggled to crush the former Taliban rulers of Afghanistan and stabilize the elected government in Kabul.
The Pentagon says US evacuations are 95% finished and will be completed by August 31.
Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Wednesday that the withdrawal of the past weeks has left the Taliban “strategic momentum” in the fight for control of Afghanistan as they have increased pressure on major cities.
The Biden administration says there are 20,000 applicants so far, half of whom have not completed the initial phase of review for visas. The United States is also allowing former Afghan employees to bring close family members.